Evaluation of a software requirements document by analysis of change data

Author(s): Basili, Victor R., and David M. Weiss
Venue: International Conference on Software Engineering, Proceedings of the 5th international conference on Software engineering, San Diego, California, United States
Date: 1981

Type of Experiement: Case Study
Class/Experience Level: Professional

Quality
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The paper discusses an effective data collection method for evaluating software development methodologies, from definition of the objectives of data collection to the analysis of the results. The results are used through the A-7 flight software development cycle in relation to its usefulness of information obtained by such partial analyses. There are “two main objectives in monitoring the changes made to the A-7 software requirements document. One objective is to investigate the feasibility of applying goal-directed data collection concurrently with document maintenance.” The other is “to try to measure the success which the A-7 requirements authors met their objectives.” The paper concludes that the data collection is feasible and useful when performed as part of configuration control, that data distributions based on partial data provide useful feedback to the developers, and that the A-7 Requirements Document is easily maintained and changed.

Process Outline

  1. As documents are completed, they are placed under configuration control, and all changes made to them are described and monitored
  2. Change report forms tailored to the objects and format the documents under control are used
  3. The change process trails to and from the document and the change report form are maintained so that the change data analyst can easily find exact portions of the document changed

RESULTS
Two conclusions can be drawn from this study: the data collection is feasible and useful when performed as part of configuration control, that data distributions based on partial data provide useful feedback to the developers, and that the A-7 Requirements Document is easily maintained and changed. It is good to note that most of the effort (about 80%) was spent on understanding the correction.

Link: http://portal.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=802544

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